Category Archives: Animated Objects

Christmas Eve 2023

Well it’s taken it’s time in arriving, this years Christmas. I think we did peek too early! But since the beginning of December when the London Leckenby’s were with us, we’ve gradually been getting ourselves ready for tomorrow. Several storms have passed over, the webcam on Oleanna was kept VERY busy with the last storm as the windows in the pram cover hardly had a still moment.

Lebkuchen

Presents bought and wrapped, food ordered. We’ve both had a hair cut. Christmas biscuits baked and delivered. One batch of mince pies baked and consumed. Tilly has slept most of the time. The windows in my work rooms have been touched up since having the new windows installed and my work table moved back into position, I’ve tentatively started work on a painting for our downstairs toilet. I suspect more will get done during Betwixtmass.

We’ve seen Animated Objects production of A Christmas Carol, won second prize in the raffle. Enjoyed the most festive Christmas show at the SJT, Beauty and the Beast, we were very unsuitably dressed as we’d not put on our Christmas jumpers and stuck out from the crowd!

A touch more knitting has happened. Sausage rolls have been baked and eaten. Tomorrow we’ll be joined by Frank, his normal invite for Christmas dinner has had to be cancelled due to Covid rearing it’s head again. Just as well I ordered an extra large veg box, plus Frank has provided us with plenty more sprouts.

The pre cooking has happened, stuffing, red cabbage, bread sauce, gravy and birthday cake. The cake is a new recipe, chocolate and hazelnut cake, it smelt wonderful as I mixed it up with all 6 eggs it required! Ganache still to be added once it’s cooled down.

Scarbados!

So just the gammon joint and dauphinoise potatoes to consume this evening, along with a glass or two of wine.

We’re ready, are you?

Stockings laid out in front of the fire. Sadly Mick has deemed it too windy to light the fire this evening! I so hope the big man in red remembers we’re in the house this year!

Academy Award Winning! 4th 5th June

Wiggenhall St Mary Magdalen EA Mooring

Our mooring had been chosen so as to be as close to Kings Lynn as possible and on Saturday morning Mick was picked up by Enterprise, at last we had been quoted a reasonable price for a hire car by them. He returned in time for us to join in with the end of the Saturday morning Geraghty zoom.

The car was packed. Biscuit bowl filled and the magic food bowl primed. Tilly was left in charge with instructions not to wind Freddie up too much whilst we were away.

Then we were off heading across country, avoiding motorways, crossing bridges over rivers we’ve been under years ago and others we’ve yet to navigate under. The biggest bridge of course being the Humber Bridge. We paused at Willerby Waitrose for a wee break and something for lunch, we also bought ourselves something for the evening.

We then took the scenic route over the Wolds via Wetwang so that we could have a look at the Scarecrow Festival. Our favourites Freddie Mercury outside the chip shop and the Queen with her corgies where we joined the road taking us to Sledmere.

A trip back to the house was for several purposes, one to add to the compost bins, two to check the house over before the next lodger moves in and to go to a party.

Our friends Dawn and Lee (Animated Objects) were having a joint fancy dress 50th Birthday party. The theme for the evening was the Oscars. You were asked to dress as a famous movie star or be dressed for a night at the Oscars.

Well we don’t exactly have a huge wardrobe to rummage through to make up a costume. We just about manage to dress up smart, but we certainly don’t have ballgowns and tuxedos on board, or at the house! Expanding our wardrobe for one evening would be extravagant. Mick had thought of going as a Billy, the telephone engineer from Little Voice, we still have his old work t-shirts. But I came up with a better idea.

My model making skills were put to use. A rigid Alice band bought for me. With Mick having a bigger head he needed a stretchy head band. Then over the last couple of weeks I’ve been cutting out foamcor and card. Wires attached. Carving into it. A layer or two of tissue paper and pva. A couple of layers of filler which was then sanded. Paint, a touch more filler, then more paint. Wires threaded through head bands. Fittings, a layer of thin foam. Hey presto we had our own Academy Award Winners to wear.

Wallace, Gromit and Feathers McGraw from The Wrong Trousers.

All ready for the party

It was a lovely evening meeting up with old friends we’d not see in years and our Scarborough theatre family. There were a few people who couldn’t make it including Duncan and Jaye who sadly had got the lurgy. Hope you are both feeling better very soon.

The costumes were stunning. Dawn as Slimer and Lee as a Ghost Buster. Fleur and Ruth as Dick Tracey and Breathless Mahoney. Dawn did a quick change for the awards ceremony. There were several categories and blow me down we won the Cobbled Together Award!

A statuette, some wine gums and an assortment of LX tape, always handy to have either on a boat or on stage.

Our award

Sunday morning and it was time to make up the last bed in the house, cut the grass, do a bit of weeding and give the big shower a good scrub down. In the process we were spotted by our neighbours who came over to give us the latest news on the street, someone having just moved in a few doors down.

Sadly we didn’t get chance, yet again to give the back garden a good sort out, but green shoots were spotted on the boat Christmas tree. There is hope for it yet, if the weeds don’t choke it before we’re back next! I also found a small pile of post that had been put high on a shelf by someone, not with the rest that had been left on the dining room table. What was in that pile? Our postal votes! Grrr!!! Those lodgers have now lost another half point!

Thankfully the traffic leaving Scarborough wasn’t too bad, it can be horrendous most Bank Holidays, which was just as well as when we stopped to pick up something for our dinner Mick remembered that he hadn’t locked the front door! Back into town again.

We had a pit stop over looking the Humber Bridge in Hessle where Mick’s Mum’s ashes were scattered, it’s nice to say hello to her every now and again.

Hello Ruth

The drive back wasn’t too pleasant with rain for most of the way.

Tilly had held the fort well although she could have turned the heating on before we got back! The stove was soon lit and a pizza each popped in the oven. Freddie came to say hello too, much to Tilly’s disgust!

Go away smelly sniffy woofer!!!

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 hire car, 2 buckets of compost, 2 head bands, 2 boaters ironed smartly, 50th birthdays, 1 Oscar, 1 Scarborough family, 2 many faces from way back when, 2 many chums missing, 1 lovely evening, 1 cut cable, 2 postal votes, 1 house all ready, 1 locked door, 2 sets of keys, 1 wave to Ruth, 1 wet journey, 1 happy cat, 1 sniffing imbecile!

2021 An Adventurous Year

Time for the annual round up. Put the kettle on or pour yourself a glass of something stonger, put your feet up, this is a long post.

Looking out into a cold world!

As midnight turned from 2020 to 2021 we saw the old year out and new one in at the house in Scarborough, a quiet affair with just the three of us.

January and February brought ups and downs with them. Oleanna rose and fell with the water level at Viking Marina due to the breach at New Bridge whilst the country locked down. Despite the restrictions on travelling we made use of having a hire car for a few days at the beginning of the year to keep an eye on Oleanna.

Jobs around the house continued, our bedroom was redecorated and reclaimed from troublesome tenants. Tilly and I ventured out into the nearby park for the occasional walk, dependant on the number of woofers and the weather of course.

We walked, we ate, we drank, did our best to stay well and I started on the design for Chipping Norton’s panto in my reclaimed work room.

The spare living room was used as a workshop doing some work for Animated Objects, scrimming giant sci-fi guns and then painting model buildings all for The Odyssey. Beetroot burgers were made and pancakes consumed.

Then March came along and some easing of restrictions. Colour came back in nature with the daffodils popping up and my panto model started to get coloured in. A design for some origami paper arrived ready to be folded up to be part of 1000 ships display that would happen a couple of months later along the Yorkshire coast.

With new freedoms we had a couple of trips to Goole to check on Oleanna. First one was to swing her round and finally put fire extinguishers on walls all ready for her Boat Safety Inspection which she passed with flying colours and a comment that we seemed to like CO and smoke detectors, well I’d rather have too many than not enough!

The cofferdam at the breach site was completed and an access ramp created. My posts about the breach put us in touch with several people in Goole and at the beginning of April The Goole Escape Facebook group was formed. Due to the breach and lack of water in Goole Docks no leisure boats were allowed to use Ocean Lock out onto the Tidal Ouse. A joint calm voice was needed to try to find a way out for those boats wanting to leave, including us.

Of course March was also when Mick and I got our first vaccinations. Who’d have thought having a jab would put a smile on peoples faces! Not that you could really see them behind all the masks. A bathroom got a make over and we discovered parts of Scarborough we’d never been to before.

April was a very busy month. With lodgers on the horizon house jobs needed finishing. The roof needed attention along with a wall in my work room, both jobs were for the professionals. Pictures went up on walls, finally. The bathroom needed finishing with Frank fitting us a new bath surround.

Mid month out attention moved back to Oleanna. Way back when, we’d booked her in at Goole Boathouse to be blacked. We had a night on board before moving her from one marina to the other to come out of the water. She was jet washed down and the chaps began applying layers of 2 pack to her hull. We visited most days with jobs to do ourselves. Mick busied himself inside whilst I ground back rusty bits on the gunnels, repainted them and the tunnel bands. Inside the oak floor had a good clean and then was treated to two coats of oil. The weather had been perfect for it and she went back in the water a week after she’d come out, enough time for the 2 pack to cure. She looked smart again, well the cabin sides still needed a good wash!

Whilst in Goole we met up with David, Karl, Wendy and Martin, four members of The Goole Escape group. David had managed to negotiate with ABP passage for leisure boats through Ocean Lock at Goole Docks, this was limited to specific times of the tide. So escape was now possible but everything would have to come together to make a sensible plan. We wouldn’t be ready for a few weeks and hoped that there wouldn’t be a mass exodus before we could join people.

As I carried on trying to finish my panto model Mick made good use of his time doing a VHF radio course, we’d need to be able to use the radio to meet the criteria for going through Goole Docks and out onto the Tidal Ouse. Tilly visited the vet and got a years worth of flea and wormer treatments, we were all set to move back on board.

The first of May was that day. We’d hoped that Tilly would remember the boat after seven months on shore, within about two seconds of being back it was obvious she knew where she was. News that Goole caisson gates were now open and cruising up towards the breach site was possible we headed off to give Oleanna a good run and so that Tilly could venture back onto dry land. It was very good to be back on the move again. On our second such trip Tilly remembered how to swim!

Whilst in Goole Mick took his Short Range VHF Radio exam and passed. I carried on painting my panto model. We both had our second vaccinations. Heather Bleasdale came to visit joining us for an outdoor lunch. We got to know the Goole Escape Committee and discussed plans. We watched work going on at the breach site. Mick had a birthday and Joan’s Home Kitchen provided us with a celebratory meal a couple of days before we hoped to escape.

On 21st May an escape committee meeting was had early on, the weather looked hopeful for the tide in the afternoon, we were booked in at Ocean Lock. Our escape was to be via Selby, the Lock keeper was called there and our plan confirmed. At lunchtime we moved up to fill the diesel tank and await the other escapees, Sea Maiden and Lullabelle. Given the go ahead by the docks to proceed we were soon passing through to Ocean Lock where there was plenty of space for the three of us. At around 14:30 the large lock gates opened to reveal our way out of Goole onto the Tidal Ouse.

All three boats arrived safe and sound

We headed upstream following Sea Maiden being pushed along with the tide. Would we make it to Selby before the tide turned. Each boat arrived individually and was locked up into Selby Basin. We’d made it, now all we had to do was escape Selby as the swing bridge out of the basin there was broken.

We waited. Tides, times, weather and the amount of fresh coming down stream all had to fit together. Bridget and Storm came to visit. We twiddled our thumbs. The Environment Agency came and closed the flood barrier. We twiddled our thumbs. Daily escape committee meetings were held. By the 27th everything was looking to fit together apart from one thing, Keadby Lock would not be manned at a suitable time for us to get off the river. Sea Maiden and Lullabelle decided to stay put in Selby. Heather Bleasdale was joining us for the trip but Oleanna would be out on the river on her own heading to Trent Falls.

What a day that was! David’s advice was spot on. Leaving Selby just before 10am Oleanna zoomed downstream with the out going tide. We followed our charts keeping to the channel. At the Apex light Mick swung Oleanna round to head upstream onto the Trent our progress slowing instantly.

We then crawled our way to find where we should wait for the tide to turn. Two hours of very little, drifting on our anchor. We’d picked the day well, it was wonderful out there.

When Oleanna started to move round a touch more we managed to pull the anchor up and found our way back into the main channel to head upstream with the incoming tide. One plan had been to moor up in Gainsborough, but we decided to carry on and arrived at Torksey just as the last light was fading at just gone 22:00, 64 miles in a day, I doubt we’ll ever beat that.

Over the next few days we made our way up the Trent, dug out our windlasses to work locks in Nottingham. Once we rose up Derwent Mouth Lock onto the Trent and Mersey we had completed our escape. The going would now be much slower along shallow canals and plenty more moored boats to slow down past.

Now we should make our booked mooring at Rembrandt Gardens, every day would be a boating day unless the weather was either too hot or far too wet to cruise. Along the Trent and Mersey, pausing to stock up in Alrewas. At Fradley we turned onto the Coventry Canal to head southwards. We gave a tow to NB Burghley Girl to the bottom of Atherstone.

At Hawkesbury Junction we did the 180 degree turn onto the North Oxford Canal, through Rugby and up Hillmorton. NB Kamili with Andy and Irene passed as we arrived in Braunston where we paused for another butchers, then up the flight and through the tunnel.

Straight on along the Grand Union. On route we stopped for a drink with Lizzie at Bugbrooke. Paused for a hot day under some trees near Milton Keynes. Had a diversion along the Wendover Arm for a night. Picked up extra crew, my old college friend Jen, for a day through Hemel Hempstead. Came across our first sightings of HS2 cutting it’s way across the landscape.

At Bulls Bridge we turned left onto the Paddington Arm. On our trip into London we came across our friends Pete and Clare on NB Billy, it turned out we’d be neighbours at Rembrandt Gardens for a few days. We arrived on time and the next day headed across London by bus to Hackney to see the London Leckenbys for the first time since Christmas 2019.

Plenty more family to catch up with. Kath came for lunch, we had a trip to Eastbourne to see Marion and John, a lovely lunch with Christine and Paul. So good to see everyone again and not just on a computer screen every Saturday.

Happy Birthday Big Brother

Andrew’s 60th Birthday was celebrated, nothing fancy just good to be able to be together for it, we’d achieved our second goal of the year.

We heard there was a space at St Pancras Cruising Club for a long boat like Oleanna, so we took advantage of a more secure mooring close to Kings Cross whilst we had a visit back to Scarborough. Checking on the house, lodgers changing over and seeing the latest Ayckbourn play with Bridget and Storm, it all made for a good weekend away. I then headed off to Huddersfield for a couple of days work with Dark Horse, fitting costumes for a photo shoot.

There was to be a Tideway cruise from St Pancras Cruising Club and with one space left we jumped at the opportunity. Ten boats made their way to Limehouse, we breasted up with NB Misty Blue, Graham turned out to be another Goole Escapee. Three lock-fulls of boats headed out onto the Tideway on the morning of 10th July, special permission had been sought to go under Hammersmith Bridge which was closed to all forms of traffic at the time.

Tilly thought we were mad taking her onto such rough water, I was a little perplexed too! Very glad that I was the official photographer, clinging on as we did more than bob up and down! Tower Bridge, The National Theatre, Christine, Adam, The Houses of Parliament, Battersea Power Station. So many sights, what an experience!

The further west we got the calmer the water got. We were glad when Hammersmith Bridge was passed as there had always been a chance that it might close to boat traffic at anytime due to safety reasons. We turned off at Brentford along with several other boats and continued up to Hanwell where we had a very sociable evening at The Fox with everyone. Thank you Simon for mentioning the cruise to us.

Sadly our washing machine hadn’t liked the lumpy water so for the next month we cruised meeting up with engineers on route hoping it could be mended. Back through London, pausing at St Pancras again. Then down to the Herford Union to cut across to the Lee and Stort. We had another mooring booked on the Lee awaiting our arrival, alongside NB Billy.

Then up the Lee and onto the River Stort. We’d only ventured so far up the Stort during our first winter on Lillian, this time we headed all the way to Bishop Stortford. Our return journey was held up slightly due to the river going into flood overnight so we had to wait for it to lower to get under the bridge at Roydon.

Back through London we made use of the new Eco-moorings near Islington Tunnel, a handy stop off with electricity. Here we met up with Nick an old friend from York and Adam called in for a catch up after working the breakfast shift at Radio 2.

Goodbye Christine!

At the end of July we pushed on and left London behind us, returning to Bulls Bridge.

We headed up to Uxbridge for cheap diesel and finally got our washing machine mended. We turned around and headed back to the Hanwell flight, stowed the garden back in the shower and headed out onto the Thames again where we turned right towards Oxford.

With a weeks license we couldn’t dawdle, although a broken lock gate at Boveney Lock did hold us up overnight so our license would be extended. A space was spotted below Cliveden so we treated ourselves to a night moored in the grounds of the big house. We paused for a socially distanced chat with Sue on No Problem XL, good to see her looking so well. Henley Regatta was almost ready as we passed through and our favourite mooring above Days Lock did not disappoint. All too soon we turned up Sheepwash Channel and ascended Isis Lock back onto the Oxford Canal.

Whilst in Oxford I managed an actual face to face meeting with Dash the Director for Chippy Panto. He seemed happy! Then we made our way up to Thrupp where we’d booked ourselves in at the cruising club for a few days whilst the London Leckenbys came to visit and we had a trip back to Scarborough and we got to see the show at Esk Valley for the first time since we’ve been living afloat.

I had a day trip to Chippy where I did a final model meeting over zoom from a dressing room, but also had chance to measure things up. Then we were off up the Oxford Canal, mooring in our favourite spots, it was a touch busier than it normally is in the winter.

A pause to visit Village Meats in Braunston and we spotted our old share boat NB Winding Down so we stopped to say hello. On up the flight sharing with a boat full of actors, then left up to Crick for the first time in ages.

A prearranged boaters meeting at Houdini’s Field worked brilliantly, NB Panda and NB Kamili convened and we all enjoyed each others company over a fantastic barbeque outside so everyone could feel safe and Tilly could roam about. Oleanna was treated to a very good wash and brush up before we were on our way again. We now needed to get her north before I started on Panto.

News came through that the breach on the Aire and Calder had been mended and nine months after the canal had sprung a leek it was mended and open again. Boats could now move through the area, mooring however is still restricted.

Following the Grand Union we headed down the Stockton Flight to Leamington Spa. Tilly and I had a few hot days on our own moored at Radford Smelly then we were on our way again. An obligatory burger at The Cape of Good Hope the night before we teamed up with NB Mad Hatter to ascend the Hatton flight. One day my old college friend Emma will not have an excuse to helping us up the flight, this time we met for a cuppa and a catch up the following day.

On up Knowle to Catherine de Barnes, then Camp Hill Locks, the Ashted flight and Tunnel (!) followed by Farmers Bridge into Birmingham. The city centre is still full of building and tram works but with the sun out it looked stunning. We also caught up with Paul Balmer from Waterway Routes before carrying on with our journey.

A night at Hawne Basin filled the diesel tank up. A night at Dudley Port Basin got the cupboards filled. A pause at Urban Moorings meant we could donate our deposits and the next day we descended from the Birmingham plateau down the Wolverhampton 21.

Along the Staffordshire and Worcester we managed to have a mid stream catch up with Barbara from NB Bessie Surtees. At Great Haywood I managed a catch up with Kay from NB Pea Green as she set up to trade for the day and Mick filled Oleanna’s water tank.

Heading north on the Trent and Mersey we pulled in for lunch and a surprise hello to Barry and Sandra from NB AreandAre whom we’d got to know last year in the first lockdown. In the afternoon we were joined by Bill and Lisa for a trip through Harecastle Tunnel. Now we swung off the Trent and Mersey and onto the Macclesfield with it’s wonderful bridges.

It would have been nice to take our time but we had a rendez vous to make. The end mooring at Marple was free and from here we headed into Manchester by train to join the London Leckenbys for a meal of big red fish. The following day my old school friend Morag joined us for a night on board with some serious catching up to be done.

Our next deadline loomed, Standedge Tunnel. We dropped down the Marple flight, crossed the aqueduct and turned right at Dukinfield Junction onto the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. We knew we were in for some hard work to climb our way over the Pennines, last time we’d enlisted crew to help as I was one handed. This time we’d be going solo. Apart from the very first lock it wasn’t too troublesome. The work is rewarded with stunning views.

Standedge Tunnel did not disappoint. Because of social distancing Mick got ride ride up front in the cratch leaving the helm to a C&RT volunteer. Bumps and scrapes made Oleanna wince along with us, but we all got through in one piece with no damage. Tilly wasn’t too happy about the trip, but at least I can now boast to the local cats in Scarboreugh that I’ve been through the longest deepest highest tunnel on the canal network whilst they just lazed around on their shed roofs!

On our way down the other side Oleanna had a belt that went taking out quite a few wires in the engine bay. RCR were sent for, the engineer suggested we’d need to remove a pulley on the alternator to be able to remove trapped wires, this could not happen where we were. We could move but the batteries would not charge. The only way to top up our electric was with the solar panels. Emergency power conservation went into operation, blogs were hand written, the freezer turned off and we gradually ate our way through our defrosting supplies. Every day Mick managed to pull more wire from the alternator and soon there was no need for an engineer again, just a new belt needed fitting.

We made our way down to Huddersfield and arrived the day before I had a production meeting at Dark Horse. After walking to my meeting I handed over the model and we stocked up on supplies before heading off east along the Huddersfield Broad Canal.

The Board locks are just that, but they are short. On Lillian we’d nearly got stuck here, but Oleanna was built a foot shorter so we knew we were fine, we still had to take great care in descending the locks diagonally. This continued on to the Calder and Hebble, taking our time and using our Hebble spike. The rebuilding work done at the Figure of Three locks, after flooding washed huge parts of the structure away, are only noticeable due to the new stonework.

Bigger locks were welcome, using the key of power once past Wakefield. The sun shone wonderfully for my last full days boating this year as we made our way to Castleford. Here we hired a car to get me down to Chipping Norton to start work on Panto whilst Mick and Tilly stayed on board with the plan to move Oleanna to a winter mooring in Thorne.

Whilst I painted the set working all the hours I could, Mick and Tilly gradually made their way eastwards. They passed through the breach site and headed to Goole to top up on diesel. On their way back towards the New Junction Canal the engine started to over heat, a problem that had happened a couple of years ago on the Thames.

The following day he winded and slowly made his way to Rawcliffe Bridge for easier access for RCR. Little could be done there and then, so Mick and Alastair (engineer) arranged to meet at Viking Marina in Goole. Oleanna managed the two and a half miles in three stages. After her cooling system had been flushed through the problem hadn’t gone away. The water pump was removed and was obviously the problem. A week later with a new pump Mick moved back out onto the cut and joined Lullabelle (a fellow Goole Escapee).

Taking a long weekend off panto, I headed up to join Mick and Tilly to help move them back to Scarborough. Wendy and Martin kept an eye on Oleanna for us whilst we settled Tilly back into the house, I knew where I was! Pah!!

Several days later with the weather on his side, Mick returned as early as he could, pushed off and single handed Oleanna back along the Aire and Calder to Sykehouse Junction where he turned onto the New Junction Canal. With swing and lift bridges to work he was glad of the assistance of a volunteer at Sykehouse Lock. Then the sharp turn at Bramwith onto the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigations. A few more bridges and two more locks before he arrived at Blue Water Marina, Oleanna’s winter mooring.

Tucked up for a rest

On our way back from Chippy a week or so later we called in to check on her. A boat in winter isn’t too friendly without the stove lit. We’ll have visits every now and then to check on her and do the odd job. The weeks are already flying by before we move back on board.

For a year that we’d decided would purely be about seeing our family and friends we ended up having quite an adventurous time. Trent Falls, the Tideway through London and Standedge Tunnel made it quite a year.

So our vital statistics for the year 2021 according to canal plan are

Total distance was 932 miles, ½ furlong and 627 locks . There were 42 moveable bridges of which 16 are usually left open; 169 small aqueducts or underbridges and 30 tunnels – a total of 19 miles 3 ¼ furlongs underground and 3 major aqueducts.

This was made up of 277 miles, 1 ¾ furlongs of narrow canals; 270 miles, 4 furlongs of broad canals; 89 miles, 4 ¼ furlongs of commercial waterways; 59 miles, 7 ¼ furlongs of small rivers; 121 miles, 5 furlongs of large rivers; 105 miles, 2 ¼ furlongs of tidal rivers; 8 miles of seaways; 263 narrow locks; 302 broad locks; 61 large locks; 1 lock on major waterways.

Sadly with Oleanna’s log book where it should be, onboard, I’m not able to offer up the engine hours, litres of diesel, gas bottle or bags of coal. Maybe I’ll update this once we are back on board.

The Thames, 2021

This year we’ve done more miles than last, not bad considering we were on land for so much of it. We’ve done far more tidal miles than ever before and for the first time we’ve been on a Seaway! If someone can tell me what the difference is between Tidal waters and Seaways please do. Maybe it was around Trent Falls, or was it downstream of Tower Bridge?

As last year I hope the pandemic doesn’t throw a spanner in the works for us or anyone else. We need the theatrical world to still function with an income for me designing shows and lodgers paying to stay in our house.

I want to say ‘Keep well friends’, but I feel I need to add, ‘Get well soon friends’, as so many have tested positive recently. Thank you for following us and hope to see you soon x

Flying In. 24th July

Bishop Stortford to Sawbridgeworth Lock 5

We were up early again, a shopping list for provisions to get us back to London was made and Mick headed out after breakfast to Waitrose for a free newspaper. Rain had been forecast for today, Mick managed to avoid the worst of it, but still came back wet.

Says Snap to me

It’s been a few weeks since we have sat down and been a full part of the Geraghty zoom on a Saturday morning, so today we made sure we wouldn’t be moving. Todays topics, chicken pox, ankle biting sisters, it was lovely to see everyone again.

The winding hole that used to stretch to Sainsburys

Time to make our move, we pushed off backwards at around 11am, reversing to the winding hole and then pulled in at the services. With the water tank filling we emptied the yellow water tank, Tilly got a clean pooh box and we disposed of rubbish.

There was one other gap in the moorings this morning, NB Small World had pulled away, we’d be following them back down the locks. Back past all the warehousey apartments. I think one boat really could do with a new chimney before winter, at least his bathroom door was in place today! No gongoozlers to keep us company at the locks as we made our way out of Bishop Stortford.

Bridge 47 is exceptionally narrow, made from what should be called a ‘T’ beam, the top being a touch wider than the bottom.

Hold on tight!

Approaching Spellbrook Lock a Dad was paddle boarding with his son clinging on for dear life, we made sure we drifted past them the little lads knuckles already white!

A group were fishing from the lock landing, so we slowly came in, nowhere else to drop me off, they moved to let us pull up and chatted away. Someone has added cable ties to the pawls, quite a good solution to be able to lift them without getting very greasy fingers.

Flying in

Saturday is obviously a busy day at Stanstead Airport at the moment. Those heading back with Ryan Air from a week in the sun kept the sky full of planes coming in to land. Then once we were meandering our way towards Tednambury Lock they started to take off in our direction.

Weighted down

All the boats were still on the meadows. The one moored quite a long way out is tied to the bank but also has a couple of mud weights out to stop them moving too much.

Waiting at Tednambury Lock

At Tednambury Lock we caught up with NB Small World again, apparently the river had been quite busy this morning, most probably boats coming out from Hallingbury Marina close by. My friend Mike had been on a friends boat earlier in the year and sent me a photo of NB Dorcas pulled in on the lock landing above. Today I recreated the photo, except mine had grey skies not blue.

Mick pulled electric cables and weed off the prop as the lock filled and just managed to pull away off the landing before a wide beam arrived. However the prop soon got fouled again, our progress downstream slower than upstream, but we hoped there would be space for us above Sawbridgeworth Lock.

Thankfully there was plenty of room, a hand from a chap on the bank helped to pull Oleanna into the side as by now there was almost no steering due to weed on the prop, something to clear before we move onwards tomorrow.

Wonder how many litres of white paint that takes

A very late lunch whilst Tilly explored the area and some quinoa cooked for a salad later.

I headed out for a walk crossing the lock and walking down Mill Lane, aptly named as it starts on the lock island, the weir behind it used for power at what look to be couple of old mills. The buildings are now pristine white with white flowering hanging baskets, a stopped clock and a mechanism that must have powered machinery in one of the mills. Ransomes and Rapier were known for their railway and crane equipment, but in early days they made saw-milling machinery.

I walked past thatched cottages and through 1920’s estates many of the houses displaying sunbeams on their walls. At Sheering Mill bridge I thought I’d walk through the apartments to reach the Maltings, but big signs suggested I’d not be welcome and that I’d need a key fob to exit at the far end. So I turned round and walked along the river bank instead, I could look at the gated community from the other bank where NB Small World was nestled for the remainder of the day.

Nestled in amongst the nettles

I had a quick walk around the Maltings, numerous antique shops to look at tomorrow and what smelt like a very good Indian Take Away. I was tempted but we ate out yesterday and the quinoa would be cool enough to make into a salad back at the boat, it didn’t stop me looking at their menu though!

Glad of a clean window to look out of

Meanwhile in Scarborough and along the North Yorkshire Coast, Animated Objects Theatre Company are touring their ‘A Thousand Ships’ exhibition. This weekend they are in the Brunswick Centre in Scarborough, tables filled with the origami boats all made by people from the Yorkshire Coast. This is part of a much bigger project The Odyssey which is running over the next few years.

My design for ‘A Thousand Ships’

4 locks, 4.53 miles, 1 wind, 1st Saturday paper in a while, 1st full zoom for a while, 1 empty wee tank, 1 full water tank, 1 clean pooh box, 2 boaters staying dry, 25 planes, 1000 ships, 2 mills, 2 moustaches, 1 tall aerial, 1 maine coon, 1 Tilly stood down and brought inside, 1 fisty paws avoided.

https://goo.gl/maps/Fe4hQR3fFz7hEBoe6

Glorious Start To A Long Day. 22nd April

Scarborough/Goole

Our alarm had been set this morning, ever so early, it was still dark when it went off. No time for a cuppa in bed, no time for a cuppa or breakfast. We climbed into our clothes said goodbye to a puzzled Tilly and climbed into the car. Where were we going at such an early hour? The seafront.

With sunrise at 5:43 am we wanted to be there in good time aiming for 5:30 We parked on West Pier, parking free at that time and walked to our destination which was in front of the Grand Hotel on the beach.

Here there was activity, Dawn and Lee from Animated Objects were busy drawing in the sand, waves and boats. Standing close by their ‘Lighting up the Coast’ sculpture, all part of The Odyssey.